Daily Archives: January 16, 2013

(WSJ Editorial) Lance Armstrong's Confession

We are all sinners, the Bible says and everyone knows. But not everyone is as accomplished a violator of the Ninth Commandment as Lance Armstrong, who is finally admitting this week after years of vociferous denials that he doped himself up to win the Tour de France seven times.

Mr. Armstrong has decided to admit his deceptions at America’s secular confessional, the Church of Oprah. No doubt the TV ratings will be huge, as the cancer survivor turned champion cyclist tries to salvage what he can of his reputation. If he really wants to atone, however, he’d be better off following the example of the late Chuck Colson.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Sports, Theology

AAC: Canon Chris Sugden on the CofE Laity Meeting on Friday

On Friday there will be an unprecedented and “extraordinary” meeting of the House of Laity of General Synod. This meeting has been called to vote on a no-confidence motion in its chairman, Dr Philip Giddings. It is estimated that the gathering will cost 38,000. (GBP)

This is part of the fallout of the result of the vote on Women Bishops on November 20th….
Tom Sutcliffe, who is a well known liberal Anglican layman, further argues that:

The basis of the no confidence motion is that Giddings spoke against the Measure and voted against it . Stephen Barney seems to believe Philip should have tugged his forelock at the about-to-be Archbishop Welby whose speech supporting the Measure his immediately followed. Barney’s motion (which amounts to a demand for self-censorship by the chair of the laity, and will destroy the value of having a chair of laity if it succeeds since all future chairs would have constantly to look over their shoulders and curtail their independence of thought and action) is also fired by his objection that Giddings making a good speech may have influenced how people voted. Would Barney have minded less if the speech had been bad? What nonsense! The basis of his intended censure of Giddings (and all of us who voted like him) is that we should have been happy to be rubber stamps – since any alternative to rubber-stamping the house of bishops’ near unanimity in favour of the Measure was bound to damage the church in the eyes of the British electorate.

Barney is veering, I think, towards fascism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Candidates for Anglican Bishop of Bermuda issue messages of unity

Two men vying for the position of Bishop of the Anglican Church of Bermuda last night detailed their vision of the future for the church.

Archdeacon Andrew Doughty and Rev Nicholas Dill both said they would work to unify the church and encourage it to grow if elected to the post next month.

Both candidates spoke and answered questions at St Anne’s Church in Southampton during the first of three scheduled public meetings.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News

NCHR Ruling (VI): Links and Solicitation of readers links to Worthwhile Commentary and Analysis

I have no desire to bury people in this discussion, but it is important to engage with it. If you have not yet you need to look at the full text of the judgment itself here. There are a lot of links which can be found here and there.Law and Religion UK is worth following in terms of discussion and links also. I am interested in what further material blog readers have found edifying in terms of something to think either with or against on this matter. If you can tell us why you found it of value, so much the better–KSH.

Posted in Uncategorized

NCHR Ruling (V): Evangelical Alliance–A response to the ECHR judgement

Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, said: “The court’s recognition of Christian belief in everyday life is welcome, but in only finding in favour of Nadia Eweida, it has shown a hierarchy of rights now exists in UK law.

“While for some the cross is a vital part of their worship, at the heart of Christianity is not about a set of rules, but a God that brings people into a new life of freedom. This new life is then lived out 24-7, and cannot ever be restricted to just our private lives.

“If UK courts are going to protect religious freedom more fully in the future they need to better understand the nature of Christian belief. Developing better religious literacy needs to become a priority.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

NCHR Ruling (IV): (Telegraph) Tim Stanley–Christians need to find some old-time zeal

There’s little reason for us Christians to cry “Praise be!” about yesterday’s decision by the European Court of Human Rights. Nadia Eweida won her right to wear a cross as a BA employee, but a nurse was denied a similar right when it infringed health and safety regulations and two public servants were told that they couldn’t refuse to carry out work that contradicted their beliefs on homosexuality. The ECHR has green-lit the bearing of religious symbols but denied the freedom of Christians to articulate the beliefs that those symbols imply.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

NCHR Ruling (III): Guardian Editorial–Religious freedom: Strasbourg's balancing act

Working around such faith-based impulses is certainly awkward. There is no clean divide between religiously rooted and other beliefs, and this is an area where asking questions will not reliably yield intelligible answers because ”“ as case law cited in Tuesday’s judgment puts it ”“ within the sort of supernatural discourses involved “individuals cannot always be expected to express themselves with cogency or precision”. So it is maddening to accommodate consciences that reject values such as gay equality, which are cherished by wider society. And yet, if we are serious ”“ as we must be ”“ about the freedom to believe, we must at least try to reconcile the two.

The big question is how to do so. Jesuitical past judgments about extending protection to such beliefs that “possess an adequate degree of seriousness and importance” are no guide, doing no more than begging the question. So what Strasbourg actually does, and all anyone can sensibly do, is weigh up competing interests and rights.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

NCHR Ruling (II): ([Neil Addison's] Religion Law Blog) Eweida and Others – First Views

It will be interesting to see if the case of Ladele is appealed since it raises real issue of principle which this dissenting judgement has highlighted and which deserves to be examined again. The decisions in the cases of Chaplin and McFarlane do not however raise these issues of principle and it may be sensible if they are not appealed. With the case of Chaplin in particular any appeal raises the danger of the Appeal decision reversing or undermining the advantages for Christians obtained through the Eweida decision

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

NCHR Ruling (I): Telegraph Editorial–A new intolerance is nudging faith aside

When an individual’s sincerely held beliefs come into collision with the demands of their employers in this way, surely it is incumbent on both sides to try to resolve the conflict in a grown-up and sensible way. Yet instead of the application of a little common sense, we have seen protracted and costly legal action, followed by a judgment that severely curtails people’s rights to manifest their faith at work. This is part of a wider trend to nudge religion to the margins of society. People of faith are depicted as being not part of the mainstream, as being quirky and different. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, spoke out persuasively in this newspaper yesterday about the “intolerance of aggressive secularism” and it is time more voices like his were raised.

We are not only a Christian country, we are a tolerant one ”“ but it seems the new secularism has no room for toleration. When these cases first arose, a number of church leaders warned of “apparent discrimination’’ against churchgoers where the “religious rights of the Christian community are being treated with disrespect’’. That claim seems less alarmist than ever.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Archbishop Cordileone in London for meetings on Anglican liturgy

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone is in London for meetings Jan. 16-18 on developing an historic new liturgy for members of the Anglican Church who are choosing to come into communion with the Roman Catholic Church under an initiative by Pope Benedict XVI.

The archbishop is a member of the Subcommission on the Liturgy for the Anglican Ordinariates, a Vatican advisory group that is in the second year of a three-year effort to create proposals for final action by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship. Archbishop Cordileone contributes canon law expertise to the group, which includes other prelates as well as expert advisers.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Resources You Need to Know About–Regent College's Marketplace Institute

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Check it out thoroughly.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Canada, Economy, Education, Globalization, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(Living Church) Steven Ford [Letter from Kosovo] Demonizing Has Consequences

As I’ve wandered Kosovo’s countryside, I’ve witnessed firsthand the results of unchecked religious hatred ”” the ruined buildings and the graveyards and the barbed wire. And while visiting the city of Prizren, an infamous place of atrocity and deadly reprisal in which businesses and churches and lives have been rebuilt, I’m amazed that things ever got this far. Rebuilding should not be necessary, as the widespread destruction of Kosovo should never have occurred.

The path toward religious cruelty begins, it seems to me, when folks identify their own political agendas as the clear will of God. And that’s easy to do, since arrogance is a major part of our fallen nature. Rare is the person, however, who derives political views from direct divine revelation. Most of us bring our agendas to our faith, where we have them blessed and sanctified.

Political beliefs made holy can easily entice people to move to another level: denegrating and even dehumanizing those who disagree with them. I recently heard a priest claim in a homily that the prophet Muhammad might have been the Antichrist. I’ve heard Episcopal Church leaders vilify their political opponents as somehow being agents of evil. And while demonizing others does not necessarily end in violence, the experience of Kosovo suggests that it’s certainly a step in getting there.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Bosnia and Herzegovina, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

An Article from The (Columbia, S.C.) State about the Diocese that doesn't Exist Yet

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, TEC Bishops, TEC Polity & Canons, Theology

(NPR) More Young People Are Moving Away From Religion, But Why?

MIRIAM NISSLY: My name is Miriam Nissly. I’m 29. I grew up in the Chicago area. I was raised Jewish. I consider myself Jewish with a – I don’t know, agnostic-leaning bent.

[DAVID] GREENE: Meaning, Miriam’s not sure she believes in God. Still, she loves going to synagogue.

NISSLY: I mean, I realized that maybe there’s a disconnect; that, you know, why are you doing it, if you don’t necessarily have a belief in God? But I think there’s a cultural aspect. There’s – I think there’s a spiritual aspect, I suppose. You know, I find the practice of sitting and sort of being quiet, and being alone with your thoughts, to be helpful. But I don’t think I need to answer that question in order to participate in the traditions that I was brought up with.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida to Hold a Conference on Mission to Next-Generation Floridians

(PR Newswire) Since its inception in the early 1800s, the Episcopal Church in Florida has adapted to changing times as it reaches out to the community.

That continues today, as the pioneering organization that began dozens of early missions across Florida is now committing to a new effort of planting alternative church groups. To begin the conversation on how best to do this, the church will host a Jan. 19, 2013 conference in Bradenton, Fla., which will bring together those who have successfully created these new communities and those who wish to help start them.

“It is very encouraging to see the church re-capturing an entrepreneurial spirit for planting communities,” said The Rev. Eric Cooter, who was hired Jan. 1 to establish new missions in the Tampa, Ft. Myers and Sarasota/Bradenton areas by the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida. These new missions will be reaching out to those not currently attending church in great numbers, including the so-called Millennial generation and Generation X.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Young Adults

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Almighty God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto thee, as our reasonable service: Hear us, we beseech thee, as we now come to thee in the name of Jesus Christ; and give us grace that we may dedicate ourselves wholly to thy service, and henceforth live only to thy glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God–not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

–Ephesians 2:1-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Independent Editorial) [Today's Court Ruling in] Strasbourg performs a double service for us

Today’s rulings concerned four high-profile and contentious cases, in which Christians claimed that their right to religious freedom under the European Convention had been violated. The court upheld only one of the complaints, that of Nadia Eweida, who argued that her employer, British Airways, had discriminated against her by banning her from wearing a cross. Those wearing symbols of other faiths, she argued, had been treated differently.

The verdict was immediately hailed as a breakthrough that would entitle all employees to wear a symbol of their religion. But this is not quite true ”“ first, because BA has allowed staff to wear discreet symbols of their religion for the past six years, as have others, and, second, because the court’s ruling in another case, also involving the wearing of a cross, went the opposite way. The court decided here that the NHS was justified in banning a nurse from wearing a cross on a chain on safety grounds.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Episcopal Bishop Shaw of Massachusetts calls for the election of his successor

Noting that he is now in his 19th year as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE today announced his call for the election of a bishop coadjutor to succeed him upon his retirement. The proposed date for the electing convention is April 5, 2014.

“I love being your bishop and it is an honor to serve you,” Shaw said in a letter announcing his decision, sent today to diocesan clergy and leadership. “These years have been some of the richest years of my life. All of you and this work have taught me much about myself and the nature of our loving God for which I will always be grateful. I am full of gratitude for all that God has given us to do: the challenges God has offered us, the opportunities and all the experiences of God’s abundance which we have experienced in our life together.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops

David Brooks on the Crisis of Fiscal Irresponsibility in America

Public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product was around 38 percent in 1965. It is around 74 percent now. Debt could approach a ruinous 90 percent of G.D.P. in a decade and a cataclysmic 247 percent of G.D.P. 30 years from now, according to the Congressional Budget Office and JPMorgan.

By 2025, entitlement spending and debt payments are projected to suck up all federal revenue. Obligations to the elderly are already squeezing programs for the young and the needy. Those obligations will lead to gigantic living standard declines for future generations. According to the International Monetary Fund, meeting America’s long-term obligations will require an immediate and permanent 35 percent increase in all taxes and a 35 percent cut in all benefits….

[The final ‘solution didn’t] involve a single hard decision. It did little to control spending. It abandoned all of the entitlement reform ideas that have been thrown around.
Whom should we blame for this? Again, we should not blame Obama and Boehner. In their different ways, they and a number of other people in the Congress are trying to find a politically palatable way to deal with these hard issues. They got what conditions allowed.

Ultimately, we should blame the American voters. The average Medicare couple pays $109,000 into the program and gets $343,000 in benefits out, according to the Urban Institute. This is $234,000 in free money. Many voters have decided they like spending a lot on themselves and pushing costs onto their children and grandchildren. They have decided they like borrowing up to $1 trillion a year for tax credits, disability payments, defense contracts and the rest. They have found that the original Keynesian rationale for these deficits provides a perfect cover for permanent deficit-living. They have made it clear that they will destroy any politician who tries to stop them from cost-shifting in this way.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Psychology, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology